Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

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Costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous; each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. We develop and apply hazards science to help protect U.S. safety, security, and economic well being. These scientific observations, analyses, and research are crucial for the Nation to become more resilient to natural hazards.

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Filter Total Items: 113
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Estuarine Processes Geomorphic Change

Changes to the geomorphic structure of estuaries impact hydrodynamics, ecosystem function, and navigation. We are implementing new methods of observing and modeling these changes using innovative field and computational approaches.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems

Estuarine processes, hazards, and ecosystems describes several interdisciplinary projects that aim to quantify and understand estuarine processes through observations and numerical modeling. Both the spatial and temporal scales of these mechanisms are important, and therefore require modern instrumentation and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic models. These projects are led from the U.S....

Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Seafloor Erosion and Coastal Hazards

Synchronized field work focused on geochemistry, geology, and metabolic processes overlaid on a habitat map of an entire reef to produce a synoptic overview of reef processes that contribute to carbonate precipitation and dissolution.

Contacts: Kimberly Yates
Date published: February 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Hawaii Tsunami Messaging

Recent scientific study reveals that certain large earthquakes in the Aleutian Islands can produce much greater tsunami inundation than Hawaii typically experiences. This higher level of tsunami inundation necessitates changes to current tsunami safety instructions - but only for this Aleutian event.

Date published: February 21, 2018
Status: Completed

SAFRR Newsletters

SAFRR Newsletters summarize the recent activities in the project.

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

Hurricane Matthew - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Matthew coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Harvey - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Harvey coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: January 30, 2018
Status: Active

Hurricane Irma - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Irma coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: January 30, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Sandy Response- Linking the Delmarva Peninsula's Geologic Framework to Coastal Vulnerability

The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. In order to better constrain controls on coastal vulnerability and evolution, the region’s sediment sources, transport pathways and sinks must be identified. This project defines the geologic framework of the Delmarva coastal system through geophysical...

Date published: January 29, 2018
Status: Active

Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Earthquake Effects in the Coastal Zone

The nation's coastlines are vulnerable to the interrelated hazards posed by earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis.

Date published: January 29, 2018
Status: Active

Beach-dependent Shorebirds

Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to manage changing coastal areas to meet social, economic, and natural resource demands, particularly under a regime of sea-level rise. Scientific knowledge of coastal processes and habitat-use can support decision-makers as they balance these often-conflicting human and ecological...

Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Nate - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Nate coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Filter Total Items: 93
Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and Backscatter Intensity of the Sea Floor South of Long Island, New York

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor south of Long Island, New York, were carried out in November 1998 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed. 

The area was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the University of New Brunswick.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site in 1996, 1998, and 2000

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS), offshore of New York and New Jersey, were carried out in 1996, 1998, and 2000 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and geomorphology of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise

The Hudson Canyon begins on the outer continental shelf off the eastern coast of the United States at about 100-meters (m) water depth and extends offshore southeastward across the continental slope and rise. A multibeam survey was carried out in 2002 to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Atlantic Beach artificial reef, offshore of New York

The Atlantic Beach artificial reef, located on the sea floor 3 nautical miles south of Atlantic Beach, New York in about 20 meters water depth, was built to create habitat for marine life.  The data from this survey are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Sandy Hook artificial reef, offshore of New Jersey

The Sandy Hook artificial reef, located on the sea floor offshore of Sandy Hook, New Jersey was built to create habitat for marine lie. The collected data from this cruise are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline. 

Date published: February 20, 2018

Sediment Texture and Geomorphology of the Sea Floor from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman's Island, Virginia

These data are a qualitatively derived interpretive polygon shapefile defining surficial sediment type and distribution, and geomorphology, for nearly 1,400 square kilometers of sea floor on the inner-continental shelf from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman’s Island, Virginia, USA.

Date published: February 15, 2018

Coastal Groundwater Chemical Data from the North and South Shores of Long Island, New York

Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY. 

Date published: February 15, 2018

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Southeast Atlantic Coast

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards.  One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. 

Date published: February 15, 2018

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards.  One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time. 

Date published: February 15, 2018

Topographic, imagery, and raw data associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Black Beach, Falmouth, Massachusetts on 18 March 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey worked in collaboration with members of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Analytics at Black Beach, in Falmouth, Massachusetts to explore scientific research demands on UAS technology for topographic and habitat mapping applications. 

Date published: February 15, 2018

Data and calculations to support the study of the sea-air flux of methane and carbon dioxide on the West Spitsbergen margin in June 2014

This dataset collected on the West Spitsbergen margin during U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activity 2014-013-FA, which was carried out in conjunction with the University of Tromso and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel on the R/V Helmer Hanssen.

Date published: February 15, 2018

Water column physical and chemical properties of Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the subterranean estuary coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from December 2013 to January 2016

This dataset, collected during four field events during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activities 2015-013-FA and 2016-003-FA in conjunction with Texas A&M University reports geochemical properties of the water column from Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network that is located 5 km inland from the coast. 

Filter Total Items: 65
Year Published: 2015

Strategic science: new frameworks to bring scientific expertise to environmental disaster response

Science is critical to society’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from environmental crises. Natural and technological disasters such as disease outbreaks, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, oil spills, and tsunamis require coordinated scientific expertise across a range of disciplines to shape effective policies and protocols....

Stoepler, Teresa Michelle; Ludwig, Kristin A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards

Year Published: 2015

Resilience by Design: Bringing Science to Policy Makers

No one questions that Los Angeles has an earthquake problem. The “Big Bend” of the San Andreas fault in southern California complicates the plate boundary between the North American and Pacific plates, creating a convergent component to the primarily transform boundary. The Southern California Earthquake Center Community Fault Model...

Jones, Lucile M.
Attribution: Natural Hazards

Year Published: 2015

Closing the loop of the soil water retention curve

The authors, to their knowledge for the first time, produced two complete principal soil water retention curves (SWRCs) under both positive and negative matric suction regimes. An innovative testing technique combining the transient water release and imbibition method (TRIM) and constant flow method (CFM) was used to identify the principal paths...

Lu, Ning; Alsherif, N; Wayllace, Alexandra; Godt, Jonathan W.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Lu, N., Alsherif, N, Wayllace, A., and Godt, J.W., 2015, Closing the loop of the soil water retention curve: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, v. 141, no. 1, p. 02814001.

Year Published: 2014

Science during crisis: the application of social science during major environmental crises

Historical and contemporary experience suggests that science plays an increasingly critical role in governmental and institutional responses to major environmental crises. Recent examples include major western wildfires (2009), the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010), the Fukushima nuclear accident (2011), and Hurricane Sandy (2012). The...

Manfredo, Michael J.; Vaske, Jerry J.; Rechkemmer, Andreas; Duke, Esther; Machlis, Gary; Ludwig, Kris
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Science during crisis: the application of social science during major environmental crises; 2014; Book chapter; Book; Understanding society and natural resources: forging new strands in integration across the social sciences; Machlis, Gary; Ludwig, Kris

Year Published: 2014

Coseismic landslides reveal near-surface rock strength in a high-relief tectonically active setting

We present quantitative estimates of near-surface rock strength relevant to landscape evolution and landslide hazard assessment for 15 geologic map units of the Longmen Shan, China. Strength estimates are derived from a novel method that inverts earthquake peak ground acceleration models and coseismic landslide inventories to obtain material...

Gallen, Sean F.; Clark, Marin K.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Gallen, S. F., Clark, M. K., and Godt, J. W., 2015, Coseismic landslides reveal near-surface rock strength in a high-relief, tectonically active setting: Geology, v. 43, no. 1, p. 11-14.

Year Published: 2014

Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts

Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage across some of the most densely populated coastal areas of the northeastern United States. The costly, landscape-altering destruction left in the wake of this storm is a stark reminder of our Nation’s need to become more resilient as we inevitably face future coastal hazards. As our Nation recovers from...

Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Jr., Robert R.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts; 2014; FS; 2014-3062; Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Robert R., Jr.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.

Year Published: 2014

Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York

The inner-continental shelf off Fire Island, New York was mapped in 2011 using interferometric sonar and high-resolution chirp seismic-reflection systems. The area mapped is approximately 50 km long by 8 km wide, extending from Moriches Inlet to Fire Island Inlet in water depths ranging from 8 to 32 m. The morphology of this inner-...

Schwab, William C.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Denny, Jane F.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Gayes, Paul T.; List, Jeffrey; Warner, John C.
William C. Schwab, Wayne E. Baldwin, Jane F. Denny, Cheryl J. Hapke, Paul T. Gayes, Jeffrey H. List, John C. Warner, Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York, Marine Geology, Volume 355, 1 September 2014, Pages 346-360, ISSN 0025-3227, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2014.06.011.

Year Published: 2014

ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States west coast

Earthquake early warning systems use earthquake science and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices and people when shaking waves generated by an earthquake are expected to arrive at their location. The seconds to minutes of advance warning can allow people and systems to take actions to protect life and property from destructive...

Burkett, Erin R.; Given, Douglas D.; Jones, Lucile M.
Burkett, E.R., Given, D.G., and Jones, L.M., 2014, ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States West Coast (ver. 1.2, February 2017): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3083, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20143083.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response; 2013; FS; 2013-3099; Stronko, Jakob M.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Caskie, Sarah A.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure; 2013; FS; 2013-3091; Caskie, Sarah A.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Campbell, Warren H.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife; 2013; FS; 2013-3096; Campbell, Warren H.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments; 2013; FS; 2013-3090; Stronko, Jakob M.

Filter Total Items: 1,689
Location 8: Photo-pair shows Irma caused erosion, Little Talbot Island, FL
February 28, 2018

Photo-pair shows Irma caused erosion, Little Talbot Island, FL

Location 8: The northern end of Little Talbot Island illustrates the processes of overwash and dune erosion due to Hurricane Irma. The low-lying sand spit near the top of the image overwashed due to high surge and waves while the dunes to the south show scarping indicative of dune erosion. Predicted probabilities of dune erosion and overwash were 98% and 73% for this location.

Location 1: Photo-pair shows Irma impacts at Daytona Beach, FL
February 28, 2018

Location 1: Photo-pair shows show Irma impacts at Daytona Beach, FL

Location 1: High waves during Hurricane Irma eroded the wide stretch of sand at Daytona Beach, but did not overtop the seawall. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was 30%.

Location 2: Photo-pair shows Irma impacts at Palm Coast, FL
February 28, 2018

Location 2: Photo-pair shows Irma impacts at Palm Coast, FL

Location 2: Elevated water levels during Hurricane Irma overtopped low dunes and transported sand across the roadway in Palm Coast. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was 76%.

Location 3: Photo-pair shows Irma impacts near Matanzas area FL
February 28, 2018

Location 3: Photo-pair shows Irma impacts near Matanzas area FL

Location 3: In the Matanzas area, elevated water levels during Hurricane Irma overtopped low dunes and transported sand landward, covering vegetation and filling in a small pond. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was 87%.

Location 4: Photo-pair shows Irrma destroyed house at S. Ponte Vedra, FL
February 28, 2018

Location 4: Photo-pair shows Irma destroyed house- S. Ponte Vedra, FL

Location 4: Three homes were destroyed in South Ponte Vedra when waves and surge from Hurricane Irma eroded the dune face and scoured areas behind the seawall, undermining their foundations. Erosion is often more severe on sections of beach behind and adjacent to the end of a section of seawall. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this location was 99%.

Location 5: Photo-pair shows Irma caused dune erosion at Ponte Vedra, FL
February 28, 2018

Location 5: Photo-pair shows Irma caused dune erosion Ponte Vedra, FL

Location 5: Waves from Hurricane Irma reached the toe of the dunes in Ponte Vedra, causing the dune face to erode and leaving a steep scarp. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this location was 58%.

February 22, 2018

PubTalk 2/2018 — USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

Title: The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory - Research, monitoring, and the science of preparing society for low-probability, high-consequence events

  • Volcanoes in the Cascade Range erupt twice per century on average, with eruptions often lasting for years.
  • Although eruptions are generally not as high-consequence as large earthquakes, they are still high-consequence events
  • ...
Looks down on beach scene from roof top, with small waves, a pier that extends from beach on left, amusement park in background.
February 20, 2018

Camera 1, Main Beach Snapshot, Santa Cruz

The view from one of two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, that overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. This view, from camera 1, looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk.

Four scientists stand around a table in a lab with gray sediment core samples on the table, and they are examining the sediment.
February 19, 2018

Selecting sediment samples from cores

(Left to right) Danny Brothers (USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center [PCMSC]), Peter Haeussler (USGS Alaska Science Center), Maureen Walton (PCMSC), and Jamie Conrad (PCMSC) select sediment samples from cores collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. They are working in the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) laboratories in British Columbia.

February 13, 2018

Dr. Rufus Catchings, USGS Geophysicist

USGS geophysicist Dr. Rufus Catchings, brings insights to the importance of diversity and perseverance in the earth science field. 
 

Oceanographic Equipment on the fantail of a R/V Savannah at sunrise
January 31, 2018

Oceanographic equipment deployment at sunrise

Dawn breaks behind one of the bottom landers on deployment day.

Filter Total Items: 317
Date published: February 19, 2018

USGS fields tsunami questions after earthquake off Kodiak, Alaska

USGS geophysicist Eric Geist fielded questions about tsunamis after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off southern Alaska prompted a tsunami watch for the U.S. west coast.

Date published: February 16, 2018

One of the first Black USGS geophysicists, pioneers subsurface research

Early in his college career, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Rufus Catchings became drawn to the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface — and was determined to understand them. 

Date published: February 16, 2018

Workshops on subduction-zone science to reduce risk for communities

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted two back-to-back subduction-zone workshops in Santa Cruz, California, from February 5–8, 2018.

Date published: February 15, 2018

False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS

On February 6, USGS research geophysicist Eric Geist spoke to reporters Rachel Becker of The Verge and Grace Toohey of The Advocate about tsunami hazards on Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shores.

Date published: February 14, 2018

USGS research featured on the cover of Eos

USGS research on a big earthquake fault off Alaska and Canada is featured on the cover of Eos, a journal of Earth and space science news published by the American Geophysical Union.

Date published: February 13, 2018

International workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines”

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February. 

Date published: February 12, 2018

Giant grooves discovered on an earthquake fault offshore Costa Rica

Imagine dragging your outstretched fingers through wet beach sand, leaving long grooves behind. Scientists recently discovered enormous grooves buried under the seafloor near Costa Rica. The detailed three-dimensional data they used to uncover these corrugations can help them better understand large subduction zone earthquakes and related tsunamis worldwide.

Date published: February 9, 2018

USGS Gas Hydrates Project Releases New Fact Sheets!

The USGS Gas Hydrates Project has published two new Fact Sheets. One describes the goals and scope of the Project and the other describes "Gas Hydrates in Nature," including where they form, how they are studied, and why researchers focus on gas hydrates for energy resource and environmental studies. 

Date published: February 7, 2018

USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future

USGS oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart shot 360-degree videos of king tides—the highest high tides of the year—throughout the Los Angeles region in 2016 and 2017.

Date published: February 5, 2018

USGS participates in workshop on restoring Monterey Bay sand-mining site

Acting deputy director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Nadine Golden attended a workshop on restoring a sand-mining operation on California’s Monterey Bay.

Date published: January 30, 2018

January 23, 2018 M7.9 Gulf of Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami

One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.

Date published: January 29, 2018

Elementary school students visit USGS office in Santa Cruz

On January 17, 4th and 5th graders from De Laveaga Elementary School visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.